A few days ago we heard that some of the local Mabaan believers were organizing a special Sunday service with the Ingassana believers from both Gendrassa and Yusif Batil camps. It was a wonderful joint effort with Samaritan's Purse offering a vehicle to help transport people the long distance. They brought a tarp (as you see pictured above) to make an extended area for people to sit.
I want to share two of the highlights of our morning:
The pastor leading the service gave an opportunity for people to stand and share personal prayer requests. A young man who has just started coming to the Bible study in Batil the last 2 weeks stood up and explained that now that he's become a follower of Jesus and left Islam, his father and mother have kicked him out of their home. Instead of moving on with the service, one of the pastors encouraged him to come to the front and gave an invitation to any other new believers who were being persecuted or being rejected by their families because of their decisions to follow Jesus. A group of about 10 young men gathered at the front and then the rest of us circled around them, placing our hands on them and then we prayed fervent prayers over them - for courage, hope and perseverance. When the last Amen was said, most of us had tears running down our cheeks.
The other highlight for me was when a young man named Mohammad came forward and requested that we, the church, give him a new name. He no longer wants to be known as Mohammad. It didn't take long at all before we all decided on Emmanuel - God With Us. We made sure he knew what his name meant and then we all gave him a big round of applause - a new name for a new life.
After the service we gathered in a circle outside and though it was dreadfully hot we sang and danced until the sweat was dripping in the hot sand. People all over the neighborhood came to watch as Southern Sudanese from three different tribes, plus the crazy white people, danced and sang with giant smiles on their faces.
Just when I can't imagine being more amazed, God dazzles us again with how He's moving and working among refugees here in Mabaan county! God is constantly doing big things.